Five to Follow MLB Betting: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 7/29/2014
It might be time to fade the Cincinnati Reds. Entering Tuesday they have lost nine of 10 since the break, scoring just 17 runs in that stretch, the fewest in the majors. With both Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips still out at least a few more weeks, I don't see things getting much better anytime soon barring a trade. Here's a look at Wednesday's Reds matchup and four other interesting games.
Diamondbacks at Reds (-119, 7.5)
I don't want to say I told you so, but I pretty much projected that Reds first-half sensation Alfredo Simon would come crashing back to earth at some point this season, and that appears to be happening. You don't come practically out of nowhere and dominate all season at age 33. Simon was 12-3 with a 2.70 ERA before the all-star break but has been hit around in two starts since, allowing seven runs and 14 hits over 9.1 innings, both losses. He beat the Snakes in the desert on June 1, allowing three runs and seven hits over 6.1 innings. Mark Trumbo is 2-for-6 with two doubles career off Simon. Arizona starts lefty Wade Miley, and the team has been getting trade inquiries on him. Miley (6-7, 4.34) probably stays because he's only 27 and under team financial control for a few more seasons. He pitched opposite Simon on June 1, allowing four runs and eight hits over six innings. Miley has been pretty good in July with a 2.94 ERA. Ryan Ludwick has two solo homers off him in eight at-bats.
Key trends: Arizona is 2-8 in Miley's past 10 road starts vs. teams with a losing record. The Reds are 7-0 in their past seven against lefties. They are 10-0 in Simon's past 10 against teams with a losing record.
Early lean: I don't trust Simon at this point or the Reds. Take Arizona.
Brewers at Rays (-170, 7)
I think you can safely say that this will not be David Price's final start in a Rays uniform as Tampa Bay is playing terrific baseball and now is just two games under .500 entering Tuesday. The Rays will go for a playoff spot and then worry about dealing Price this winter. Price (11-7, 3.08) has won his past six starts, allowing no earned runs in three of them. He hasn't faced many Brewers. Mark Reynolds is 7-for-29 with three homers and six RBIs off Price. Sadly, there might be only 5,000 people at this 12:10 p.m. start in St. Petersburg. It's Yovani Gallardo (5-5, 3.57) for Milwaukee. The Brewers have lost his past six outings, although he got a decision in only one of them. He blanked the Mets over 7.2 innings in his last start. Only a few Rays have faced him. James Loney is 4-for-14 with three RBIs.
Key trends: The Brewers are 1-4 in their past five against lefties. The Rays have won four straight Price starts against teams with a winning record. The "under" is 4-1 in Price's past five at home.
Early lean: Go Rays at +130 on the runline.
Mariners at Indians (+111, 6.5)
Few pitchers are more fun to watch than Seattle's Felix Hernandez (11-2, 1.99), and he's on an incredible roll right now. King Felix has tied Tom Seaver's major-league record of 13 straight starts of pitching at least seven innings and allowing two or fewer runs. Hernandez is 7-1 with a 1.36 ERA in that run, although he has gotten no-decisions in three of his past four. Hernandez totally shut down the Indians on June 29, holding them to a hit over eight innings, striking out nine. Daniel Murphy has some success against him with a .308 average, three homers and 16 RBIs career. Corey Kluber (10-6, 2.77) goes for Cleveland, and he has become the ace of the staff. Kluber has allowed just two earned runs combined over his past two starts and has a 1.97 ERA this month. The only Mariner to have faced him is Robinson Cano, who has a double in four at-bats.
Key trends: Seattle is 6-1 in Hernandez's past seven on the road. The Indians are 5-1 in Kluber's past six at home. The under is 5-0 in Hernandez's past five and 5-1 in Kluber's past six.
Early lean: Under at -110.
Nationals at Marlins (+125, 7.5)
Keep an eye on whether Nats outfielder Jayson Werth is in the lineup for this one. He sprained an ankle in Monday's game. He's hitting .284 with 12 homers and 58 RBIs on the year but hasn't gone yard since the all-star break. Werth is 2-for-9 career with an RBI off Miami starter Brad Hand (2-2, 4.19). The lefty blanked Houston on three hits in a career-high 7.1 innings last time out. He has not fared well in two starts against Washington this season with a 0-1 record and 11.37 ERA. Bryce Harper has a home run and four RBIs in five at-bats against Hand. Tanner Roark (10-6, 2.82) goes for the Nationals. He's nothing if not consistent: three straight starts of one run allowed over seven innings. Roark is 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA in two starts against the Marlins. Giancarlo Stanton has gone yard once in nine at-bats vs. Roark.
Key trends: Washington is 4-1 in Roark's past five on the road. The Marlins are 1-6 in Hand's past seven against teams with a winning record. The over is 4-1 in Roark's past five and 4-0 in Hand's past four vs. the NL East.
Early lean: Go Nats at +120 on the runline.
Blue Jays at Red Sox (-157, 8)
It's amazing what a difference a week can make, but now it appears that this will be the final start in a Red Sox uniform for lefty ace Jon Lester (10-7, 2.52). The Sox have lost six of seven entering Tuesday and the "for sale" sign is up -- team brass already is looking toward 2015. Lester said he'd consider re-signing this winter even if dealt. I think he does go, so if he gets pulled before Wednesday's start or early in it while pitching well, something has gone down. Lester has a 0.93 ERA this month. The Jays have knocked him around this year as Lester is 0-2 with a 7.43 ERA against them. Fellow lefty Mark Buehrle takes the mound for Toronto. Buehrle (10-7, 3.19) hasn't won since June 1 and has allowed 11 runs over nine innings in his past two starts. He's 1-1 with a 5.84 ERA in two starts vs. Boston. Big Papi has four homers and 14 RBIs career off him in 79 at-bats.
Key trends: The Jays are 2-9 in their past 11 vs. lefties. Boston is 7-2 in Lester's past nine at home vs. Toronto. The over is 5-1 in his past six at home against the Jays.
Early lean: I think the Red Sox have quit. I also think that Lester might have an off night if he's preoccupied with all the trade talk. Thus, the Jays are good underdog value.
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